Graham Frankland, Corporate Responsibility & Citizenship Manager at National Grid talks about the partnership between City Year UK and National Grid

“We’ve been a big supporter of City Year UK since they first came to London. We’re now also working with City Year in Birmingham and Greater Manchester, which has really helped us with our community engagement.

“Our initial involvement began with a major engineering infrastructure project in east London, where we were putting electricity cables through tunnels to power the capital into the future. We teamed up with City Year as we wanted to work with a school that was on the route of that work. As a result, we’ve worked closely with Whitmore School in Hackney alongside City Year’s volunteers. The good news is that since we started working with them, Whitmore School is no longer in special measures.

“City Year’s young people also helped with our School Power project, a unique programme offering free extra-curricular science workshops to primary schools to help inspire an interest in engineering. We reached tens of thousands of school children in London through this initiative, which was fantastic.

“We’ve also encouraged our employees to mentor City Year volunteers, first in London, but now in Birmingham and Greater Manchester too. Last year more than 70 of our employees came forward to say they’d like to mentor a City Year volunteer. Three years ago it was just seven. Our employees who are involved with City Year get a lot out of it. They learn new skills and also become connected to the communities in which they work.

“As an engineering company we’re passionate about education, and developing Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills in particular. Our partnership with City Year helps us and them – and the local communities in which we operate. You can really see tangible benefits, progress and improvements for the school and pupils associated with City Year. And the same goes for the volunteers we mentor. You can see them grow as individuals and people. They may have come out of education not knowing what they wanted to do, and this is a great way of developing skills and experience that they can take forward into future employment.

“It is a great partnership.”